LOST Theories - DarkUFO

Richard, the Leader, and the MIB by EmilyG

I haven't seen anyone suggest this, so here goes:

Leadership of the Others is dualistic, just as the powers on the Island (Jacob/MIB) are dualistic. We have Dogen, leader at the Temple . . . and Richard, leader of the wandering Others.

Neither Ben, nor Eloise, nor Charles was ever truly a 'Leader'; it's always been Richard. Just as Dogen separates himself from his people via a 'translator', so too does Richard separate himself from the consequences of leadership---he just does it in the opposite way: Dogen operates through a 'fake' second-in-command, whereas Richard operates through a fake 'leader.' Richard picks a leader, sets himself up as second-in-command, and manipulates the leader into making the choices Richard wants made. When the Others get angry at those choices, their anger falls on the leader---never on Richard. When the leader starts going in directions that Richard does not approve of, Richard just picks a new leader, and the cycle continues. Richard is forever insulated from the internal politics of the group, and the beauty of his modus operandi is that even the people he 'chooses' as Leader don't know they aren't really in charge.

This is what we saw in Man Behind the Curtain. Ostensibly about Ben, this was the episode where we first saw that Richard does not age. Ben is the Great and Powerful Oz, the booming voice, and Richard, not Ben, is the 'man behind the curtain.'

Only the Leader can seek an audience with Jacob. Dogen thought Jacob was coming to the Temple, and I got the vibe that this wasn't the first time---ergo, I think Dogen has met Jacob. We know Richard has met Jacob. Ben has not, and I don't think any other 'leader' of the Others has met Jacob because they weren't truly leaders. Maybe this is why Flocke needed Richard to take him to the Statue; only a true leader could let Flocke into the statue. He needed Richard to open the door.

So what does this mean for Richard's 'leadership test'? Why did he agree to take Flocke to the Statue, but not Ben? And what did he really think was happening re: the time traveling Losties?

Here's my theory: When Richard arrived, he and Dogen were 'claimed': Dogen by Jacob, and Richard by the Man in Black. The MIB freed Richard from his chains and granted him immortality, Jacob granted Dogen immortality but planted him at the Temple: Dogen is stationed at the Temple (just as Jacob doesn't seem to move much from his perch at the Temple (at least, while on-island)); Richard is constantly moving through the jungle, just like Smokey.

Remember how shocked Richard was at learning Flocke's true identity? Yet he must have known that Smokey and Jacob were enemies. He wasn't shocked at Smokey's enmity---he was shocked that Smokey is also the Man in Black. I think, long ago, Jacob upset the natural balance on the Island by orchestrating the 'death' of the Man in Black. Richard, the MIB's servant, was deceived: he never knew Jacob was behind his master's 'death' (somehow preventing him from taking his true human form) and he never knew that his master was also Smokey.

I'm struck by Flocke's attitude toward Richard and the Others. He brings them food, chastises them like an angry parent, and incapacitates Richard as quickly as possible (compare this, for example, to the endless beat-downs Ben has received). If Richard never made the MIB/Smokey connection, that means he viewed the MIB as a much more benevolent figure than Smokey.

When Locke came out of the jungle in the 1950s, he told Richard he was his future leader and he was sent by Jacob. Richard knew three things at that point: 1) Richard himself was the true leader, 2) the people he set up as "puppets" had never met Jacob, and 3) Jacob had no power over time travel. So to Richard, Locke would be, not just Richard's superior, but also someone who had met Jacob, and who was demonstrating powers that Jacob himself had never demonstrated. He didn't seen Locke as another Eloise or Ben---he saw Locke as the "rebirth" of the Man in Black!

We've never seen Richard administer his "dalai lama" test to anyone but Locke. I think the entire point of that test was to search for the 'reincarnated' Man in Black. After all, the whole point of the actual Dalai Lama test is to discover which child, born at the instant the old Dalai Lama dies, is the reincarnated
Dalai Lama. It makes no sense for the test to just choose the new 'leader' of the Others because we've had multiple leaders alive at the same time---Eloise, Charles, Ben, etc. They're not the same person, so it makes no sense for them to 'recognize' items that they were supposed to already own. The Book of Laws, the compass, etc.---they all belonged to the Man in Black. Richard freaked out when Locke chose the knife because he thought the knife was fake; however, I think that knife was originally used to "kill" the Man in Black (and thereby transform him into Smokey full-time, and lead Richard to believe he was gone).

I think Richard saw the MIB as a powerful but benevolent figure, and therefore, Richard's been looking for his reborn 'god' for a very long time, only to now discover that said god has been alive, well, and rampaging through the Island. I'm seeing a very sound spanking in someone's future.

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